The Sugarmaker’s Companion
by Michael Farrell
Subtitled, “An Integrated Approach to Producing Syrup from Maple, Birch, and Walnut Trees,” The Sugarmaker’s Companion provides easy-to-understand and nicely illustrated instructions for getting into the sugarmaking business, everything from sugarhouse design and construction, to sap gathering, syrup making and timber production. Discussions of the marketing and economics of sugarmaking are included.
Most interesting is the discussion on tree sap as a traditional energy drink, popular in Korea to this day and certainly an important element of the Native American diet. Considered curative for many ailments (including hangover) in Asia, Finland and Russia, it’s best consumed unpasteurized, but commercial pasteurized versions are now appearing on the market. A company called Troll Bridge Creek in Canada offers bottled maple sap and three fruit-flavored varieties. Even when pasteurized, maple sap offers a natural way of sweetening beverages. A squeeze of lemon in a glass of fresh maple syrup and you have instant lemonade.
Thumps up for a great contribution to the literature on traditional foods.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Winter 2013.